Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Brother Rat

Brother Rat, also known as Blake, who is in conflict between his need to protect his sister and his love for Rosemary. He believes that he and Sister Rat are damned unless Rosemary saves them. A light black man with a human body but the head and the tail of a rat, Blake wants to return to the innocent time before, at Rosemary’s urging, he copulated with his sister on the playground slide to prove his love for Rosemary. His sister’s dead child and her return from a mental institution, as well as the secrecy that both have promised on Rosemary’s Holy Communion prayer book and their own father’s Bible, culminate in synaesthetic imagery of attic worms, gnawing attic rats, Nazis, and communion wine of all sisters’ blood. Blake recognizes that his obsession for Rosemary betrays both him and his sister. Brother Rat believes that he and his sister will be murdered but hopes that new life can come after the battle.

Sister Rat

Sister Rat, also known as Kay, Blake’s sister. On her first day home from the mental institution, she believes that she has been betrayed by her mother, God, and Blake. A light black woman with the head of a human but the stomach and the tail of a rat, she cries constantly and wants Blake to protect her from herself as well as the gnawing rats, the Nazis, and the Procession but does not trust that he will. Desperately lighting candles with her brother against the invading battle...

(The entire section is 591 words.)